Today Pope Francis has shared the apostolic letter he wrote on the French Carmelite nun, St. Thérèse de Lisieux. He has never shied away from his admiration for the saint who died at the age of 24. In fact, in an interview with the homeless, the Pope cited her as his favorite saint.
It’s not overly surprising that the Pontiff is so fond of this 19th-century religious. If you were to describe her in a few words, you could say she was audacious, a little willful, full of love and gratitude, and steadfast in her faith in God. St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face certainly is someone to admire.
From a very young age she knew she wanted a religious life. A path that would allow her to devote her time to loving and serving God. At the age of 14 she was so impatient to join the Carmelites that on a trip to Rome with her father she asked Pope Leo XIII for his permission.
While he didn’t grant permission, he told her: “You will enter if it is God’s Will.” Unperturbed, she continued in her prayers and the Little Flower joined the Carmel community at just 15, where she surrendered herself entirely to God until her death from tuberculosis.
A dash of daring
If you look at the short life of Thérèse you can see she was a child who knew what she wanted, such was her confidence that God was guiding her soul and her actions.
This can be seen not only in her desire to join a religious life at such a young age, but how her complete love and trust in God led her to be a little too audacious. This was something Pope Francis pointed out in a general audience in November 2022:
When Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus visited the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem in Rome at the age of 14, she tried to touch the nail venerated there, one of the nails with which Jesus was crucified. Thérèse understood her daring as a transport of love and confidence. Later, she wrote, ‘I truly was too audacious. But the Lord sees the depths of our hearts. He knows my intention was pure […] I acted with him as a child who believes everything is permissible and who considers the Father’s treasures their own.'”
And it is her unwavering confidence in God’s love and mercy that can inspire us all in our daily lives. It may seem simple, but if we look at the life of the Little Flower, God was the fire in her soul that led her to take such bold moves at such a young age.
Therefore, if you lack a little confidence, you can try to approach a tricky situation with the same audacity as Thérèse did, knowing you have God guiding you. (And by the way, as a Doctor of the Church, Little Flower is a powerful intercessor, so you can reach out to her directly for a little confidence boost.)